Amanda's Circus

Lightship Memoir Longlisted

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Wow! I have a memoir longlisted in the Lightship competition. Update – the memoir has now been promoted to the shortlist – and I ‘ve written another wee post.

I stumbled on the longlist after someone tweeted that they had a flash longlisted. I checked out the Lightship website and found the memoir longlisted. Great news. It is a case of watch this space because there was no email or anything so I don’t know if the shortlist will be up soon or if they’ll email. It’s a mystery.

This memoir is a passion for me. It is a piece I need to write and I have plans to develop it into something much longer. So much needs to be told and so much can be revealed by this story. What’s more, it has a beginning a middle and an end. And I’m talking about the long version here, not the short memoir which, in many ways, is a more prickly beast.

Writing a memoir is, inevitably, much more difficult than writing fiction. To some extent you can tinker with time, you can decide which stories you want to tell and how, and you can create a distinctive world and voice, although the voice must be true to the character, I think. You can decide on theme and style, genre and viewpoint. However, facts are facts, motives are motives, and there is a point at which the truth cannot be adjusted to suit the story. Truth, of course, is everything when you write. It is what it’s all about whether you’re writing fiction or memoir. Of course in memoir, you must treat your characters especially gently. These are real people, and sensitivity is essential and there is a line that must be drawn regarding truth and harm. There are also times when the story is so strong that it wants to be told and everything else gets out of control. This is a very tricky situation and whipping it into shape takes a great deal of strength. But most importantly, you have to decide what to leave out and that’s a difficult one when it comes to memoir. Causality, in real life, is what it is and it often appears random and disconnected or just plain dull. You nevertheless feel a need to be truthful. Tricky.

Anyway, I am thrilled that the Lightship readers enjoyed the story and considered it worth listing. It’s wonderful news. You can checkout all the longlistees here.

 

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About writing, trickery and a little music